The Truth About Woody Allen (Part I)

By Robert B. Weide

WoodyAtTypewriter
©B Plus Productions, LLC

INTRODUCTION:

With only a few exceptions, I’ve always turned down requests to be interviewed about the Woody Allen case. First of all, it’s a very complicated and unpleasant subject, and outside of writing a book, it simply can’t be covered in a way that’s comprehensive enough to do it justice. Every time I’ve written about it in the past, I’ve felt like I was just scratching the surface. Also, I do have a life and career outside of advocating for Woody Allen, so occasionally I have to devote my time to something that pays the bills. But among friends of mine, I have no problem talking about it – if they ask.

One such friend is a freelance reporter who writes a lot about film and media, and the few times a year that we have lunch, the conversation often turns to Woody Allen. He asked me recently if he could interview me about Allen for one of the publications he writes for. I was hesitant for the reasons I’ve already mentioned. Also, as much as I like to debunk the misinformation that people insist on rehashing, I don’t really like to be at the center of my own writing. Not to mention, I’m getting a little tired of re-litigating the specifics of the Allen case, as I’ve covered it so much already.

That said, I had been thinking recently about writing a new piece – one that would focus on the role of social media in the Allen debate, especially in light of the #MeToo movement. I finally decided that to get some of these ideas across in a conversational format might be a little less tedious than to tackle another essay. So I agreed to let my friend interview me under the condition we’d share editing duties. He agreed. We met at my house so that I could have some documents at hand when I needed to quote directly from other sources. We talked for more than three hours (including breaks for bathroom, coffee, and my walking the dog.)

When the transcript was completed, we wound up with more than 20,000 words, which we culled down to about 9,200 words – still far more than could be included in any publication to which he was planning to submit. We agreed that instead of paring down the interview any further, I would just publish it on my Word Press account where some of my other Woody essays appear. Even the edited version is admittedly a long read, so I’ve broken it up into two parts to allow the reader bathroom and coffee breaks and a chance to walk the dog. Although my friend was willing to have his name used in the piece, I have decided to protect him from the anticipated shit-storm, so he is referred to here only by the initials “P.M.” (which may or may not be his actual initials). Cheeky, huh?

I find that I play a much more central role in this piece than I would normally be comfortable with, but that’s where the conversation naturally led, so I went with it. Although we covered a lot of angles here, I still look at these 9,200 words and think mainly about everything that wasn’t included. Maybe that book isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Of course, you’re encouraged to click on any of the links that interest you.

Cheers,
Robert Weide
April 8, 2019


PM: Your Twitter account had been relatively Woody-free for a while, but recently you posted two threads on the topic – one dealing with a college journalism professor’s use of the Woody Allen case as an exercise in critical thinking, and another lengthy one dealing with actors who will and won’t work with Allen. So you clearly aren’t through with this topic. Why do you think people should still care about the Woody Allen case? Why do you still care about it?

RW: First, I live for the day I’ll be through with this topic and can go back to tweeting about my cat. Frankly, I would never suggest that anyone should care about it or even pay much attention to it. But since it involves a celebrity, it makes for great click bait, so we’re always going to hear about each new development, and that coverage will always carry a large degree of misinformation. Because I know a lot about this case, I feel an obligation to do what I can to set the record straight. But it is definitely a Sisyphean task.

I think the only sense in which it matters to the general public is in the larger context of what it says about how vulnerable anybody’s reputation and livelihood can be in this age of social media where innuendo and misinformation can so easily take someone down if due process is ignored. Woody will pull through all this. But it’s a cautionary tale. It could just as easily happen to you or me or any of the fourteen people reading this interview. Of course, plenty of people absolutely deserve to have their asses kicked to the curb, but it’s a very wide net that’s being cast right now, so care should be taken on a case-by-case basis. I thought Maureen Dowd’s recent lumping Allen in with Michael Jackson and Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby was really irresponsible journalism, but God knows, she’s not the first and she won’t be the last.

PM: Should we establish right up front your take on his guilt or innocence with regard to the allegation about him abusing Dylan Farrow when she was seven?

RW: Sure. I’m absolutely certain that the molestation charged in 1992 and reignited in 2014 did not take place. I’ll go a step further and say that I see no way any reasonable person who has really evaluated all the available facts in this case — and I’ve had access to more than the average person — could come away with any other conclusion. Sorry, I know we just lost seven of those fourteen readers, but there you are.

In fact, I think anyone’s belief that it did take place could only be a direct result of not looking at all the available information on both sides. Or looking at it and ignoring it. It’s the same thing we do with our politics – we tend to willingly take in news stories and editorials that already coincide with our own beliefs, then ignore or dismiss anything contradictory. You’re not allowed to do that when you sit on a jury. But in the court of public opinion, or in the Twittersphere, you’re under no obligation to look at it all, weigh it, and back up your conclusions among peers who have looked at the same evidence. But I’m realistic enough to know that among the few Woody-haters who get through this interview – if any — the takeaway is simply going to be, “That scumbag is still denying Dylan’s truth, like he knows better than her what happened.” That can’t be helped.

Believe me, a forensic examination of this case is not my idea of a good time. I understand why people don’t want to bother. It would have been so much easier for me to form my opinion by just gliding over all the hearsay. But when someone’s reputation and livelihood are at stake, I could never publicly express a strong opinion I’ve formed without first doing the proper homework.

I find it interesting that the social media set keeps asking “Why is Woody Allen still working in the MeToo era when so many others have been taken down?” It’s actually a very legitimate question with a very specific answer, but they prefer to view it as rhetorical.  They don’t really want to stick around for the answer because it unravels every misconception they cling to about this case.

PM: Can you understand or sympathize with someone who believes Dylan, or do you just think they’re nuts?

RW: Oh, god, of course I understand. In fact, I would be suspicious of anyone who would simply dismiss her accusation, out of hand. When a thirty-year-old woman says “My father sexually assaulted me when I was seven,” why wouldn’t you believe her and why wouldn’t your heart break for her? Now, I suggest this is the natural initial response, but the process doesn’t end there. If you’re going to have an informed opinion, you have to research both sides. If you leave out that part, you’re no more civilized than the person who simply dismisses the accusation, out of hand. You’re part of the torch and pitchfork crowd. Without due process, we would just imprison or execute anyone who gets a finger pointed at them. And in this case, due process was carried out a quarter century ago – long enough to take on a great amount of historical revisionism. But yes, I totally empathize with those who say they believe Dylan. It means they’re human and they’re empathetic. Those are good things to be. The tricky thing here is to look at this objectively without trashing the accuser, or, what’s the phrase now – taking away her agency? I’ve never called Dylan Farrow a liar, and I never will. But I still believe this alleged event did not take place. And those two statements are not mutually exclusive.

PM: Well, why would Dylan, or Mia [Farrow] for that matter, ever make the accusation if it weren’t true?

RW: Well, that, of course, is the million-dollar question. But there’s simply no way to distill an answer without deconstructing this whole case and spending tens of thousands of words on it.

For me, the real question is, does Dylan truly believe it happened, or is this knowingly a false accusation being leveled to settle some other score? I wouldn’t begin to pretend to know what’s going on inside her head, but I could make a case for either possibility. At the risk of speaking out of school, I will say that I’ve spoken to Woody about this, and he’s of the opinion that Dylan truly believes it. And from what Moses [Farrow] writes in his blog post, he seems to agree. Moses grew up in the same house, and his recollections of how Mia would coach and manipulate and rehearse her kids to carry out her wishes offers a lot of insight. But Moses was 14 when all this happened and was just on the cusp of thinking for himself. Dylan had just turned seven at the time. Ronan was only four, so he really learned Mia’s version at her knee, and has chosen to stick with her story.

But also consider this – in her 2014 New York Times piece in Nick Kristof’s column, Dylan recalls a very specific detail about the alleged assault in the attic. She talks about watching an electric train circling the perimeter of the attic all during the event. She says that she can’t even look at toy trains now without feeling sick. As I said, Dylan had just turned seven at the time. Moses was fourteen and says there was absolutely no electric train set in this crawlspace and there wouldn’t be room for one even if the kids wanted to set one up. He gives a very detailed description of this space as having a steeply gabled roof and open floorboards with exposed nails and mouse traps, and how it was crammed with Mia’s trunks. But he insists, no electric train. Now if we accept Moses’ statement that the train story is false, then this implies that Dylan is embellishing her story. And that suggests to me that she’s knowingly leveling a false accusation. Or if she honestly remembers a toy train that wasn’t there, and makes it the centerpiece, so to speak, of the event, then it calls into question the validity of the entire recollection.

I should mention that I’ve read all the transcripts from the custody trial, and the electric train story was never brought up in any testimony relating to the alleged assault. It makes its first appearance in 2014, twenty-two years after the fact.

PM: Has Dylan ever addressed Moses’ rebuttal about the train?

RW: No. After Moses’ blog post got a lot of attention, both Dylan and Ronan issued statements personally denouncing Moses and sticking up for Mia but they never addressed or countered the specific claims Moses made. Instead, they tried to go after his character, which is exactly what Moses said would happen. The funny thing is, if you read Moses’ blog, it’s entirely credible and precise and the pieces all fit together.

But back to whether Dylan actually believes the assault took place, the answer is, “I have no idea.” I know someone who’s currently researching the McMartin [preschool] case from the ‘80s, and I asked him how many of those kids — now grown adults — still think their abuse actually took place. He said the vast majority of them came to realize it didn’t. But there are still a few who believe it did.

The Twitter response to this will be “Woody Allen Defender Mansplains the MeToo Movement for You.”


PM: The abuse allegation was first made in 1992, then seemed to go away until it resurfaced in 2013, initially in a Vanity Fair article, and then in Dylan’s op-ed for the NY Times. Even then, it didn’t really seem to get much traction until it got swept up in the MeToo movement. But you told me earlier that you believe the accusation against Woody Allen has nothing to do with MeToo. Can you explain what you meant?

RW: Sure. Every case that’s part of the MeToo movement, that I’m aware of, has at least one thing in common: A woman or a man alleges an incident, or multiple incidents, of assault or harassment by someone, but finds themselves ignored or dismissed – or not taken seriously. This is assuming they come forward at all. MeToo is a movement that encourages survivors to speak out, and demands that they be taken seriously — that they be heard — and that the perpetrators should answer to their alleged crimes.

I’m smiling because I know the Twitter response to this will be “Woody Allen Defender Mansplains the MeToo Movement for You.” [laughs] But my personal opinion is that you’d have to be an idiot not to support the basic tenets of such a movement.

But those of us who were around in 1992 can tell you that Mia’s accusation on Dylan’s behalf was taken very seriously. It led the evening news for weeks. It made newspaper headlines and magazine covers around the world. More importantly, it triggered two state-sponsored investigations — one in Connecticut and one in New York — that went on for months and involved interviews and medical and psychiatric exams. This was at the center of a very long custody battle that went very public. So you can hardly make the claim that the accusation was not taken seriously, or swept under the rug. The fact is that these lengthy investigations — which were ordered by the prosecution, by the way — concluded that the abuse did not take place. Consequently, no charges were ever brought against Allen. That’s the reason it went away for all those years. A legal determination had been made, after which everyone went about their business. But the accusation was taken very seriously.

The other thing most MeToo cases have in common, is that for each person accused, there are often several accusers with similar stories. Weinstein and Cosby are, of course, the poster boys. But also for most of the others who have made headlines, you have many accusers telling similar stories. Woody Allen has had one accusation, made by an understandably furious ex-girlfriend, in the middle of contentious negotiations for visitation and financial support of three shared kids. And this single incident allegedly took place inside a home filled with children and adults who were instructed to keep an eye on him.

And the point should also be made that after 60 years in the public eye, Allen has not had a single accusation of inappropriate behavior lodged against him by anyone – in front of or behind the camera. That also separates him from all the MeToo cases I can think of. Many, many women are part of his production team, and you’ll not find one that doesn’t think very highly of him. And think of all the actresses whom he’s directed. Try to find one who will tell you of a single uncomfortable moment, on or off set. If there were such a person, don’t you think Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Ronan Farrow would have found them by now?

PM: The MeToo movement encourages us to “Believe the woman.” Do you accept that notion?

RW: Well, I’ll go with “Listen to the Woman — Believe the Truth.” But that takes a little more effort and can get complicated.

I only recently watched Dylan’s interview on CBS, and she said something like (I’m paraphrasing), “Why is it easier to believe that this is a false memory someone put in my head than it is to believe that Woody Allen assaulted me?” And of course, the answer is it’s much easier to believe that Woody assaulted her than to believe this is a false memory, because it’s a less complicated, more streamlined narrative. But what’s hard or easy to believe is irrelevant. Arriving at the truth about the day in question involves a detailed examination of the facts. The idea of a false memory planted by Mia came from the state’s investigators, not from Woody.

Here’s my feeling: Standing by Dylan Farrow in the name of MeToo is kind of like standing by Elizabeth Holmes in the name of female entrepreneurship. You’re welcome to do so, but you may feel a bit let down once you dig a little deeper.

After 60 years in the public eye, Allen has not had a single accusation of inappropriate behavior lodged against him by anyone.


PM: You mentioned the two investigations. The first one was conducted by the Yale/New Haven clinic?

RW: The Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale/New Haven Hospital, yes.

PM: And the second one?

RW: The New York State Department of Social Services — the child welfare office.

NY Result
New York Times. October 26, 1993. NY Child Welfare Office finds Farrow accusation “unfounded” after 14 month investigation.

PM: I’ve heard the word “discredited” ascribed, I guess, to the Yale investigation.

RW: Yeah, the only ones who refer to that investigation as “discredited” are the Farrows and their followers. That’s only because it didn’t go the way they wanted. The Yale/New Haven team was about the most respected body in the country set with the task of investigating child sexual abuse cases. They were assigned this case by the Connecticut state prosecutor, Frank Maco. Believe me, people who work in child protection services love nothing more than nailing bad guys. The expectation is that they’ll submit their report to the prosecutor who can then use their findings to put these bastards away in a court of law. But in this case, they turn in a report to the prosecutor saying, “there’s nothing here.” And that was the end of filing any charges against Allen. The state no longer had a case. So suddenly the Farrows decide the Yale team is “incompetent” and “discredited.” Meanwhile, they still exist, and remain highly respected. And Dr. John Leventhal, the same guy who headed it up in 1992 still heads it today. But the Farrows want us to believe that in this one specific case, they suddenly didn’t know what they were doing and dropped the ball. I’m not certain how they explain the New York investigation reaching the same conclusion after 14 months.

PM: But what were their findings, exactly?

RW: Okay, I’m going to look at a print-out I have, because I don’t want to paraphrase their wording. Okay… they say, quote: “It is our expert opinion that Dylan was not sexually abused by Mr. Allen. Further, we believe that Dylan’s statements… do not refer to actual events that occurred to her on August 4, 1992.

“In developing our opinion, we had three hypotheses to explain Dylan’s statements. First, that Dylan’s statements were true and that Mr. Allen had sexually abused her; second, that Dylan’s statements were not true but were made up by an emotionally vulnerable child who was caught up in a disturbed family… and third, that Dylan was coached or influenced by her mother, Ms. Farrow.  While we can conclude that Dylan was not sexually abused, we cannot be definitive about whether the second [or third] formulation is true. We believe it is more likely that a combination of these two formulations best explains Dylan’s allegations of sexual abuse.”

Screen Shot 2019-03-15 at 11.28.30 PM
Excerpt from findings of Yale/New Haven Child Sexual Abuse Clinic, March 17, 1993.

PM: But I’ve also read a statement from Dylan Farrow claiming that she was never interviewed for this investigation, and that the researchers destroyed their notes. Does that seem suspect to you?

RW: Dylan was actually interviewed nine times as part of the investigation. It even gives the dates of the interviews. I think Dylan’s claim was that she was never interviewed by the lead doctor, John Leventhal, which is neither here nor there. In cases involving young children, possible victims of sexual abuse, girls are usually interviewed by women. Dylan’s interviews were conducted by social workers Jennifer Sawyer and Dr. Julia Hamilton, a Ph.D. If she had been interviewed by Dr. Leventhal, I’m guessing they would have called foul that this frightened little girl was questioned by a grown man. So there’s a lot of historical revisionism at work.

Dylan has also said that none of the other witnesses were interviewed for the report. Well, first of all, there were no “witnesses” to the alleged incident, but aside from Dylan, Mia, and Woody, the lead nanny, Kristi Groteke — who would later write a book about this case — was interviewed, as were Sophie Bergé, a French tutor who was in the house that day, and Dylan’s two therapists, Susan Coates and Nancy Schultz.  If there was anyone else whom the state thought was essential to their case, they would have been added to the list. Again, these people were working for the prosecutors, not for Allen.

PM: What about the destruction of the notes prior to submission of the findings? Dylan and Ronan have mentioned this many times.

RW: Yeah, I wondered about that myself until I spoke to someone who works in child protection services, and they told me this is very common protocol, also used in FBI investigations. Once the findings are written up, the original notes are often destroyed. Apparently, it’s meant to protect the privacy of the interview subjects. So this is hardly the smoking gun the Farrows want you to believe it is. I’ve said this elsewhere in one of my essays, but I assure you that if the investigation went the way Mia Farrow and the prosecutor hoped it would, nobody would be questioning the protocol of the Yale team.

The judge’s custody decision… wasn’t based on the allegation about Dylan.


PM: The judge’s findings in the custody case paint a pretty unflattering picture of Woody as a father. That document is in pretty heavy circulation on the internet among the pro-Dylan contingent.
(Note: Mia was awarded custody of Dylan and Ronan, who was then called Satchel.)

RW: Yes, now this is another matter that deserves much more examination than we can possibly include here, but I’ll clarify a few basic points. First, as you’ve just mentioned, this judge’s statement pertains to a custody trial, not a criminal case. As I’ve said, there was never a criminal case against Allen because the state had nothing to go on once the Yale Report came in — even though the prosecutor would still say there was “probable cause.” So this document you mentioned is the judge’s decision in the custody case. And yes, this guy, Judge Elliot Wilk, was not a Woody Allen fan. [laughs]. He was probably rooting for Star Wars to win Best Picture instead of Annie Hall.

Listen, lest you think I can give no quarter to the opposition, I will say this: I can understand the judge’s custody decision. I could effectively argue with any number of his specific points, but as far as his final decision, awarding custody to Mia was not so outrageous. But it wasn’t based on the allegation about Dylan. The judge’s big issue was that Woody remained in an intimate, sexual relationship with Soon-Yi, who, adopted or not, was still the sister of Dylan and Satchel. He could not see awarding custody of two children to Allen, when he’s in a relationship with their sister. Fair enough. Also, a big part of most custody decisions is, “who has maintained custody prior to the challenge?” And that, of course was Mia. Woody never even lived in the same apartment as she and the kids. That’s about 80% of the ball game right there, as judges don’t like to disrupt that precedent without very strong reason. The judge cites legal precedents for this in his ruling.

Now, I read all the time from Farrow supporters that Judge Wilk disagreed with the Yale findings and believed the assault actually did take place. But I’ll read the judge’s exact phrasing which is (quote), “I am less certain than is the Yale-New Haven team that the evidence proves conclusively that there was no sexual abuse.” (Unquote.) This is a far cry from saying he believes the abuse occurred. But of course, the Yale team is the one that conducted the investigation, not Judge Wilk. In that same statement, Judge Wilk admits, quote: “The evidence suggests that it is unlikely that [Allen] could be successfully prosecuted for sexual abuse.” So much for “probable cause.”

The judge also never suggests that Dylan be permanently separated from Woody to protect her from him. In fact, Wilk’s decision says that Dylan should be in therapy for six months to work through the trauma of the investigations and the split-up of her parents, after which she’d be re-evaluated, and if she had made good progress, then supervised visitation could begin with her father in a therapeutic context. By the time the custody case went to the appellate court, the appellate decision cited a testifying psychologist’s opinion that contact with her father was a necessary element of Dylan’s development.

Apellate WA role for Dylan
Excerpt from Appellate decision, NY Supreme Court, May 12, 1994.

I know these details get real boring, real fast. But once you study it, you see how even the custody decision has been misrepresented by the Farrows and their followers. Granted, none of this suggests that Woody falling in love with Soon-Yi was a smart move, but, you know, it happened, and the fall-out was massive, but they remain together and have raised two normal, healthy kids. As for Mia, out of her ten adopted kids, two are permanently estranged, and three are dead — two from suicide, and the third died in poverty. Mia also has one brother who committed suicide, and another brother who’s in prison for multiple counts of child molestation. The dysfunction in that family runs very deep, and has nothing to do with Woody and Soon-Yi.

[The therapist] specifically states that she perceived no sexual element to [Allen’s] behavior.


PM: What about the claim that Woody was in therapy to deal with his inappropriate feelings for Dylan?

RW: Yeah, you’re really hitting the top-ten list. This is another canard courtesy of the Farrows. The therapist this refers to was Dr. Susan Coates and she wasn’t Woody’s therapist, she was Dylan’s. Dylan and Satchel [Ronan] were both in therapy practically from the time they could talk. Mia and Woody had regular visits with Dylan in Coates’ office. In fact, one of the reasons Dylan was in therapy was that Woody and Mia felt she was having trouble distinguishing between reality and fantasy.

Anyway, Woody finally becomes a father in his fifties when Mia adopts Dylan, and he adores this girl. He lavishes attention on her while completely ignoring Mia’s other kids, whose father was André Previn. Mia is concerned about Woody smothering Dylan with too much attention and asks him to talk to Coates — Dylan’s therapist — about boundaries and giving Dylan some space. Allen agrees to do so, and meets with Dr. Coates. That’s it! So the idea that Allen is in therapy for some kind of untoward attraction to Dylan is pure fabrication. Coates would testify about Allen’s “inappropriate” behavior, but solely in the context of him lavishing so much attention on his own daughter, while ignoring Mia’s other kids. In fact, she specifically states that she perceived no sexual element to his behavior. But that phrase “inappropriate behavior” is repeated by the Farrow clan like a mantra.

PM: If the abuse accusation against Allen is so patently false, why do you think it’s stuck this long?

RW: Here’s the problem: If you’re accused of a crime you truly didn’t commit, what do you say? “Not guilty.” But if you’re accused of a crime you actually did commit, what do you say? “Not guilty!” So you don’t get any points for declaring your innocence. You know… “that’s what they all say.” And who’s got time to go back and evaluate all the evidence, other than idiots like me?

By the way, I do believe the animosity Woody still faces among so many doubters has more to do with Soon-Yi than with Dylan. I’ve found that when people are presented with Dylan’s inconsistencies and all the evidence that contradicts her, they’ll often say, “Well, the guy slept with his girlfriend’s daughter. He’s a creep.” Or they take the position that anyone who could sleep with his girlfriend’s 21-year-old daughter could molest a seven-year old girl. If he can do “A,” he can do “B.” I agree with all the psychologists who take the position that one has nothing to do with the other. I also find that when you break down the misconceptions that people still have about Soon-Yi

PM: Such as?

RW: Well that she was underage, that she was Woody’s adopted daughter or stepdaughter, that he was grooming her, or that he was any kind of a father figure to her, or that Woody and Mia were married or even lived together – whenever you disabuse them of those falsehoods, what you finally get at the end of the day is, “Well, I still think he’s creepy.” Okay, so you personally think he’s creepy. That’s fine. But the stated goal of a few Farrows and their followers is that Woody should not be allowed to make movies anymore. He should be dead in the business. In her CBS interview, Dylan says, “Why shouldn’t I want to take him down?” But I say that’s not how things work in this country. If you don’t want to see his movies, don’t watch. He broke no laws. He fell in love with his ex-girlfriend’s daughter, who was of age, and whom he’s still with, 26 years later, and that’s not a valid reason to end someone’s career.

The animosity Woody still faces has more to do with Soon-Yi than with Dylan.


PM: You once said to me that what this boils down to is “emotion trumps facts.”

RW: Yeah, obviously. When a young woman says, “My father sexually assaulted me when I was seven,” that’s simply going to override anything else you have to say about this case. And I get it. Empathetic people want to come to the aid of an alleged victim. But before you malign the accused, you’d better get your facts straight.

I do wish that someone would produce a comprehensive, impartial documentary about this case, because that’s what seems to get the public’s attention these days. Look at the Steven Avery/ Brendan Dassey case. There was a confession and a conviction! Yet look at the public sentiment calling for their release, because “Making A Murderer” laid out the case for their innocence in a way that held people’s attention, and they could process it. Or look at the “Paradise Lost” child murders. Again, a confession and a conviction of three suspects — for multiple child murder! But after Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s films, public sentiment favored these guys and they were finally released after twenty years. For that matter, look at the Central Park Five. Once again, a confession and a conviction. But everyone who insisted on their guilt wound up eating their words.

PM: Except Donald Trump.

RW: [Laughs.] Yeah, true. But in Woody Allen’s case, not only was there no confession and no conviction, there wasn’t even a trial because there was nothing to charge him with. Yet the number of misinformed people who insist he’s guilty is astounding. It used to be “innocent until proven guilty.” Now it’s, “guilty until the Netflix series.”

It’s interesting that you mention Trump who insisted the Central Park Five be executed before they were even tried. But remember how, once the actual attacker confessed and the convictions were overturned, Trump still felt they should pay for the crime? That’s the role I see Ronan and Dylan Farrow playing in this case. The legal status of this accusation was determined 25 years ago, with Allen exonerated by two investigations. Even though no charges were brought, the Farrows still insist he be shut down because… well, because why? They don’t like the legal conclusion? I mean, isn’t Ronan a lawyer?

PM: I’m sure he’d love being compared to Donald Trump.

RW: That’s all right… he’s not reading this. But I think that particular shoe fits, in this case.

And while we’re tossing around Trump metaphors – you know these investigations in Allen’s case were not just cursory reviews. They were both quite detailed and thorough, interviewing all relevant parties; there were medical exams, psychological evaluations. The Yale-New Haven investigation took seven months, I believe. The New York child welfare inquiry took 14 months. You know, it’s like the Mueller investigation. Every time Mueller’s team handed down another indictment, Trump yelled “Fake news!” That’s basically the same tactic the Farrows have taken with these investigations — at least with Yale/New Haven. I’ve never heard them even acknowledge the New York outcome. It would be fun to hear them explain that one.

CLICK HERE FOR PART II


Robert B. Weide is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker whose documentaries have covered the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, and Kurt Vonnegut. He was also the Executive Producer and director of the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. He tweets at @BobWeide.